The world’s most populous smartphone platform (330,000,000 shipped), Symbian, is now fully open source. Members of the foundation include Nokia, AT&T, LG, Motorola, NTT Docomo, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone.
In 2008, Nokia bought the rest of Symbian for $410 million…. and then gave it away. In February 2009, Nokia received $630 million 5-year loan from the European Investment Bank to drive and support Symbian’s R&D.
Symbian Foundation [with S60, UIQ and MOAP under their belt] officially launched in April 2009, becoming its own entity. The intention: becoming fully open source, to speed up development, innovation and attract developers.
In addition, Symbian Foundation aims to reduce Nokia’s influence to Symbian’s development to no more than 50% by 2011. That’s great I guess; accessibility and being free to modify is what open source is all about. Apart from fresh ideas, loosening Nokia’s grip allows greater input from the others participating in Symbian’s development. Plus, there’s always that greater sense attachment/’ownership’/loyalty to something one’s been able to actively contribute to.
Hopefully Symbian foundation can really surprise us when Symbian^3 (and then ^4) arrives. Despite its unrivalled success by sales volume, the public image of Symbian OS, mainly due to S60, has been of “OLD, outdated, unintuitive – uncompetitive” compared to rival experiences with Android, iPhone and now Maemo. Functional? Yes. Easy to use? No. That’s not good when today’s OS on any device is all about pick up and play. Manual? Hell no.
So this is what the #Symbiancountdown has been all about? 108 days ahead of schedule in becoming open source?
UPDATE: 04-02-2010 10:00GMT. Countdown still going. Now at 9.